When actions of an individual adversely affect the society, Islam prohibits
those individual actions by calling for restraint, patience and responsibility.
Even though such actions may not have an immediate effect on the individual,
however, if they harm the society, the individual will be affected eventually.
Actions whose harm is hidden or not immediate may be difficult to realize and
this is all the more reason to turn to our Rabb for guidance.
Giving precedence to the well-being of the society over an individual, also
known as 'general welfare,' is an universal principle. Even those who turn
towards their own selves instead of turning towards their Rabb for judgment,
accept this principle and abide by it. Rather, this is their only justification
towards curtailing an individual’s desire to do as he wants, for they cannot say
as the believers would rightfully say, 'Do not do such and such for Allah - our
Creator - has forbidden it.'
For the believers, it is part of one’s faith to take behavioral guidelines from
the Shareeah. At times, we understand the wisdom behind individual rulings, at
others, we may not. Regardless of that, we abide by the Sharee’ah ruling because
we understand that the One, Who Created us, Knows best how we are to behave in
Allah had forbidden extravagance because it causes harm to the individual and
his dependants. The extravagant person could exhaust his resources leaving his
family impoverished; or his life of extravagance sets an undesirable precedence
for others, causing them to disregard the true goal of life and to forget that
wealth is a bounty from Allah for which everyone is accountable for. The Prophet
(sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, 'On the Day of Resurrection, the feet of the son of Adam will not move
until he is questioned about five matters; how he spent his life? How he spent
his youth? How he earned his wealth and in what way he spent it (his wealth)?
and what he did with the knowledge he had?' [At-Tirmidhee (5197)]
The reason why Allah has bestowed wealth has been explained by the Messenger of
Allah (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam), who said, 'Indeed Allah, the Most High, said, 'We have sent down the
wealth for the prayer to be established and that Zakaat be given; and if the son
of Adam had a valley of gold, he would love to have a second; if he had two
valleys, he would love to have a third, and nothing will fill the belly of the
son of Adam except dust…' [Musnad Ahmed and at-Tabaranee. Saheeh al-Jamee
By wasting a blessing from Allah, the extravagant one is ungrateful towards his
Lord and has been compared to the most ungrateful one. Allah says, 'But spend
not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily,
spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayateen (devils), and the Shaytan is ever
ungrateful to his Lord.' [Soorah al-Isra (17): 26-27] And the refuge of Allah is
sought from this.
As for the believers, then amongst their qualities is to be moderate in their
spending. Allah says, 'And the slaves of the Most Beneficent are those who, when
they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way)
between those (extremes).' [Soorah al-Furqan (25): 67] Thus, as Imam Ibn Katheer
(rahimahullah) writes in the Tafseer of the above verse, 'They (the believing
slaves of Allah) are not extravagant, spending more than they need, nor are they
miserly towards their families, not spending enough on their needs. But they
follow the best and the fairest way. The best of the matters are those which are
moderated, neither one extreme nor the other.